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Climate displacing coastal residents, says Bangladesh chief negotiator

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 Jun 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, June 22: Bangladesh is vulnerable to climate change and many people are getting displaced because of it in the coastal areas, says noted economist Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, who was Bangladesh’s lead negotiator in the Paris climate conference. In an interview to IANS, Ahmad also said that even though Bangladesh hardly contributed to climate change, this riverine South Asian tion is reeling under the impact of change in rainfall pattern, rise in sea level and resultant salinity in water.

“It is known that Bangladesh has not contributed to the climate change at all. But climate change is posing a massive threat to our country, more than those tions that had a major role in this environmental episode,” said Ahmad, who was in New Delhi to attend a Knowledge Forum on Climate Resilient Development in Himalayan and Downstream Regions, organised by Kathmandu-based ICIMOD last week. He said as a result of green house gas emissions by developed tions, the sea level is rising, there are frequent tural disasters and the permafrost is melting. And the poor countries are bearing the brunt. Ahmad pointed out that Bangladesh is not required to reduce emission of green house gases. Bangladesh emits only 0.3 tonne per capita per year, compared to 10-20 tonnes in developed countries, about seven tonnes in Chi, eight tonnes in South Africa, and about two tonnes in India. Bangladesh’s per capita annual emission constitutes only about one-sixth of the average in developing countries, Ahmad said. He said salinity in water due to rise in the sea level has affected millions in Bangladesh — agriculture and availability of potable water have been hit hard because of it. “Rainfall pattern has changed in the last few years and it is a matter of concern. Farmers do not get water when they need it the most, but then at other times they are affected by flooding,” Ahmad said. It used to happen earlier, but now this has become frequent due to climate change, he added.

Referring to displaced people, Ahmad said: “We call them climate migrants. It’s a reality that climate change and displacement of the people in Bangladesh are simultaneous and it is a matter of grave concern.” No wonder then that Bangladesh has been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he said. Severe climatic events have had their impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country as well. Bangladesh loses about one to two per cent of its GDP every year due to such events, Ahmad said. (IANS)

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